2021 Alumni Achievement Award

photo of Fay FergusonFay Ferguson ’73

Fay Ferguson ’73, co-CEO for the Burrell Communications Group, earned an MBA from Indiana University Kelley School of Business. She has won many industry awards including the Adweek 50: Media, Marketing and Tech Leaders for 2020; Chicago Advertising Woman of the Year; and Chicago Advertising’s Silver Medal Award, the organization’s highest honor. She is the founder of Allies of Innocence, an organization dedicated to providing free counseling to survivors of gun violence in Chicago, and is a former member of Concordia’s Board of Regents. Ferguson co-founded Concordia’s first Diversity Student Endowed Scholarship and established a military educational scholarship in honor of her late son, Navy Lt. Eric W. Ferguson. She was the keynote speaker for Concordia’s 2016 Commencement and has spoken at numerous other colleges, including Harvard, DePaul, and Howard. Ferguson is devoted to living a purpose-driven life and making it a priority to support many charitable organizations, especially underserved groups.

Photo of Gwen HalaasDr. Gwen (Wagstrom) Halaas ’75

Dr. Gwen Wagstrom Halaas ’75, vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and professor, Washington State University Health Sciences, earned a medical degree from Harvard and trained in family medicine at the University of Minnesota. She completed an MBA in healthcare from the University of St. Thomas. Halaas has held leadership roles at the University of Minnesota and University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences. She was medical director at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota and HealthPartners. She led a clergy health and wellness program for the ELCA. Halaas has directed family medicine residencies, rural training programs and practiced family medicine in Minnesota. She has published books, chapters, articles and has received numerous awards. She has been on the boards of several health systems and Lutheran organizations.

photo of Harold PopeHarold D. Pope ’77

Harold D. Pope ’77, is senior counsel at Dykema Gossett, PLLC, in Detroit. He graduated summa cum laude from Concordia and earned his Juris Doctor from Duke University School of Law. His areas of practice include commercial, employment, and products liability litigation. Significant cases include representation of an automotive manufacturer in the trial of a sudden acceleration/wrongful death case, representation of a lender in a single asset Chapter 11 Bankruptcy proceeding, representation of a manufacturer in a trade secrets/antitrust dispute, and representation of a manufacturer in numerous employment matters arising out of a reduction in force. Pope served as president of the National Bar Association from August 1999 to August 2000. He served the ABA on its board of governors from 2009-14 and is now the Michigan State Delegate to the ABA’s Nominating Committee. He is also on the board of the American Bar Foundation.

photo of Corey TeigenDr. Corey Teigen ’86

Dr. Corey Teigen ’86, a board-certified vascular and interventional radiologist, researcher, and developer, has been appointed chief scientific officer for Penumbra Inc. He received his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, did his radiology residency at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and completed his fellowship at the Miami Cardiac and Vascular Institute. He served as chair of Interventional Radiology at Sanford Health, Fargo, N.D., for 25 years. Teigen has authored numerous publications and been involved in the development of multiple interventional devices, including the Cordis INCRAFT stent graft for the endovascular repair of abdominal aneurysm, intravascular stents, balloons, liquid and coil embolics, inferior vena cava filters, and thrombectomy devices. He has served on the Peripheral Vascular Committee of SIR and was co-director of the Sanford Health Vascular Institute.


2020 Alumni Achievement Award

Robert Johnson '71

Robert C. Johnson ’71, retired manager of music organizations for St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn., passed away in October 2019 after a yearlong battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Prior to St. Olaf, he taught public school music and worked at the University Musical Society. At St. Olaf, Johnson’s office was responsible for managing all aspects of the St. Olaf Band, St. Olaf Choir, and St. Olaf Orchestra, including arranging tours, production of the St. Olaf Christmas Festival, and managing St. Olaf Records. He was honored with an Emmy by the Upper Midwest Emmy Awards, received the ACE award for lifetime achievement from the American Choral Directors Association, and inducted into Alexandria School District’s Hall of Fame.

Karen (Quanbeck) Grandstrand '77

Karen (Quanbeck) Grandstrand ’77, a shareholder with Fredrikson & Byron, is a nationally recognized financial services regulatory attorney and financial industry advisor. Prior to Fredrikson, she had a 14-year career with the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Grandstand earned a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola University of Chicago School of Law and is a member of the Minnesota State Bar, the American Bar, and the Hennepin County Bar associations. She is a past and current member of several boards, committees, and associations, including the TCF Financial Corp. and the Concordia College Board of Regents. She has been involved with numerous presentations, articles, and has guest lectured at area universities. Among her several awards, she received the Concordia College Regents Award in 2000.

Rachel (Nelson) Hollstadt '70

Rachel (Nelson) Hollstadt ’70 founded Hollstadt & Associates Inc., an information technology and management consulting company, in 1990. Under her leadership, the company earned awards for quality, philanthropy and fast growth including the Minnesota Business Ethics Award, Jefferson Award for corporate philanthropy and multiple Fast 50 awards. For the success of her company and networking opportunities she provided for executive women, Hollstadt was honored with the Minneapolis St. Paul Women in Business Career Achievement Award. Her board service has included the Minneapolis YWCA, Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota and 360 Communities. A sponsor of the Hollstadt Women in Leadership endowment, she has served Concordia as a founding member of the Offutt School of Business Global Leadership Council, member of the Board of Regents and co-chair of the historic RISE Campaign.

Dr. Bennett Larson '63

Dr. Bennett Larson ’63 is Corporate Fellow Emertius in the Materials Science and Technology Division of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, Tenn. He earned a master’s and a doctorate in physics from the University of North Dakota and University of Missouri, Columbia. Larson began his 45-year career in 1969 as a research physicist at ORNL, where his work included development and application of new and innovative X-ray diffraction techniques. He has authored or co-authored more than 125 scientific papers, presented at more than 50 national and international scientific meetings or workshops, and won a number of prestigious awards. Although formally retired, Larson remains actively involved in scientific research at ORNL.

2019 Alumni Achievement Award

Dr. Paul Brandvik '59

Dr. Paul Brandvik is a professor emeritus of music at Bemidji State University and served as director of choral activities for 31 years. He received his Bachelor of Arts in public school music and psychology from Concordia and taught at Pelican Rapids High School. He earned his Master of Music in voice from the University of Wisconsin in 1965 and Doctor of Musical Arts in choral music from the University of Illinois in 1969. He conducted the Bemidji Choir in performances for conventions of the American Choral Directors Association as well overseas conferences. He received several awards, guest conducted more than 100 festivals and workshops in 16 states and abroad, and composed, edited or arranged more than 50 works.


Dr. Kristi (Martinson) Ferguson '71

Dr. Kristi Ferguson is a professor emeritus of general internal medicine and served as director in the Office of Consultation and Research in Medical Education at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine from 1995 to 2018. She earned her Concordia degree in 1971 and earned a master's and doctorate at the University of Michigan. She spent her entire career at the U of Iowa Carver College of Medicine where she has greatly influenced the development, implementation, and evaluation of the curriculum. She has served on committees for several national organizations, including the Association of American Medical Colleges. She remains active in her church community at Zion Lutheran Church and has recently been elected as the vice chair of the Board of Directors of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.


The Rev. Ann Svennungsen '77

A 1977 Concordia graduate, the Rev. Ann Svennungsen is the bishop of the ELCA Minneapolis Area Synod, the first female bishop to serve in any of the ELCA's six Minnesota synods. She served as pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Iowa City, co-pastor of Edina Community Lutheran Church, and senior pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Moorhead. She went on to serve as president and CEO of The Fund for Theological Education and then president of Texas Lutheran University. Svennungsen, a well-respected theologian and speaker, is published in numerous journals and is invited to lecture, preach, and provide keynote and commencement addresses. Among her many honors, she was inducted into the Martin Luther King Jr. Collegium of Scholars and has received the Luther Seminary Alumni Achievement award and an honorary doctorate from Trinity Lutheran Seminary. 


Dr. Thomas W. Samuelson '81

Dr. Thomas Samuelson, a board-certified ophthalmologist, is a founding partner and attending surgeon at Minnesota Eye Consultants, P.A., Minneapolis. He's also an adjust professor at the University of Minnesota and on the faculty of Hennepin County Medical Center. He earned his medical degree at the University of Minnesota and completed his residency at the University of South Florida College of Medicine. He has received several awards and has been named to American's Top Doctors each year since 2002. He has written numerous articles and given more than 600 presentations around the world. He is active in his church community and is a C-400 member at Concordia.


2018 Alumni Achievement Award

Charles Beck

Charles N. Beck ’48, a former naval pilot, completed his master’s degree in art at the University of Iowa (1950). He taught printmaking, drawing, painting and art history at Minnesota State Community and Technical College, Fergus Falls, Minn., from 1960-87. A revered Midwestern regional artist, Beck produced woodcut prints, wood carvings and oil paintings. Known for its vivid representation of Minnesota, his work has been exhibited in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; the Denver Art Museum; the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Institute of Art, both in Minneapolis; the St. Paul Gallery; and the Rourke Art Gallery in Moorhead as well as many other colleges and universities, area businesses and public spaces throughout the region. Beck designed the Otter Tail County Historical Museum in Fergus Fall in the early 1970s and was the featured founding artist upon the opening of the Kaddatz Gallery (2009), formed to foster visual arts appreciation in Fergus Falls and to maintain a permanent, publicly accessible space for local artists. A clear champion for arts education and preservation, Beck built visual arts programs for the Fergus Falls Center for the Arts and began a permanent collection at M State, now numbering more than 400 works in all mediums, by asking students to leave a work behind and purchasing from featured artists in the Waage Gallery. The school honored him in 2007 by naming the Charles Beck Gallery located in the newly constructed Legacy Hall. Beck was inducted into the Fergus Falls Sports Hall of Fame (1986) and Fergus Falls High School Arts Hall of Fame (2003), awarded an honorary Doctorate of Arts Degree from Concordia College (1979), and received the Lifetime of Creativity Award from the Plains Art Museum, Fargo, N.D. (2012). Until 2009, Beck and his wife, Joyce, managed a gallery in their home and welcomed countless visitors to view Charlie’s work. In September 2017, Beck passed away at the age of 94, still creating as he employed a new style of painting from a studio in his room at Broen Home.

Dr. Richard Sibley

Richard Sibley is a 1967 graduate of Concordia College. His 42-year career as a Professor of Anatomic Pathology began with the personal encouragement of R.E. Fuglestad, a Concordia College Professor of Biology. Sibley graduated from UND School of Medicine (M.S., 1969), and from U of Texas, Southwestern Medical School (M.D., 1971).  He completed residency training at the University of Chicago Medical Center (1971-74), and a post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford University Medical Center (1974-1976). The early years of Sibley’s career in anatomic pathology were at the University of Minnesota (1976-1986). He was influenced there and supported by numerous clinical colleagues in the areas of solid organ transplantation and medical kidney disease. During his Minnesota tenure, Sibley wrote numerous articles and presented academic papers at American and international congresses and conferences. In 1986 Sibley was appointed Professor of Pathology at Stanford University School of Medicine. He held administrative positions of co-director of anatomic pathology, medical director of clinical laboratories and associate chair for clinical services.  Sibley continued to publish professional papers and book chapters on solid organ transplantation, medical renal disease and neoplastic disorders. He served for many years on the editorial boards of Ultrastructural Pathology, Transplantation International, Modern Pathology and Human Pathology. During the span of Sibley’s 42-year career, he has seen the transformation of medicine from a male-dominated profession to one of inclusivity.  Sibley continues to teach women and men who are medical students, pathology residents and fellows who come to Stanford University from all over the world. He teaches how to do what he does best – diagnose disease.

Darnell Carter

Darnell E. Carter '75 is a retired assistant prosecuting attorney for Clark County, Ohio (1980-2008), where he tried many capital murder cases and was appointed head of the criminal division in 2005. He was one of the first, in 1988, to gain a conviction based primarily on DNA evidence, an emerging science at the time. In 1993, the same year as the siege on the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, Ohio Gov. George Voinovich appointed Carter as one of the lead prosecutors during a prisoner riot at the maximum-security prison in Lucasville, Ohio, from which he earned the Governor’s Commendation and Resolution. The riot, one of the largest in the U.S. for number of participants, resulted in a 10-day standoff and the death of nine prisoners and one guard. Prior to being an attorney, Carter grew up as the son of a sheriff’s deputy and jail warden and was a National Merit Commended Scholar. He graduated from Drake University Law School in Des Moines, Iowa (1979), taught English at Springfield South High School and obtained his master’s in history from The Ohio State University (1993). Chosen from among 1,500 assistant prosecutors, Carter was named Assistant Prosecuting Attorney of the Year by the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association (2007) and received The Ohio State University Humanities Alumni Award of Distinction the following year. Carter has also received the Springfield Community Award of Excellence and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections Gold Star Award. Carter spent decades raising awareness of Black History Month and the African-American experience in the 20th century. He lectures on integration in the sports arena at the University of Drayton, taught criminal justice at Wittenburg University, and has frequently written guest columns in the Springfield newspaper. Now retired, Carter serves on the Clark County Park Board and Clark County Historical Society, coaches football at Springfield High School and tutors language art and history at a local alternative school. He says, “A lot of these students already have probation officers. I have too much urgency to grab a fly rod and go down to the riverbank.”

Claudia Swendseid

Claudia S. Swendseid '78 served 31 years at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis before retiring as the senior vice president in March 2017. During her tenure at the Federal Reserve, Swendseid served as a senior officer on the Reserve’s Financial Services Council and as an overseer of many projects and various departments. Swendseid’s contributions have led to innovation and improvement of many of the Federal Reserve System’s and the U.S. payment system's processes, notably helping to transition much of U.S. payments from paper to electronic/digital form. She also promoted changes that eliminated operational costs, saving the Federal Reserve System millions annually. Swendseid’s work reaches further than the financial sector through her community involvement with United Way, Community Thread, Valley Outreach, Young Life, Feed My Hungry Children and the Minnesota Women’s Economic Roundtable. Swendseid served six years on the board of directors, including two years as board chair, for Solid Ground, a nonprofit social service agency that offers housing, education, development and empowerment services for homeless families. In addition, Swendseid helped establish the Hospitality Center for the Chinese and has volunteered with Women’s Venture and Tubman Family Crisis. She was awarded the 2017 Female Outstanding Volunteer Award for Washington County, Minn, which recognized her for her community involvement through volunteering. She is very active at Trinity Lutheran Church in Stillwater, MN, serving as the chair of the Trinity stewardship team.

2017 Alumni Achievement Award Recipients

Dr. Allan Carlson '61

Allan is widely recognized at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) and throughout the world as a leading expert in neutron cross section data development and evaluation. As the foremost U.S. physicist for the standards on effective cross sectional area of the nucleus of an atom, his work is vital for understanding the performance of nuclear power reactors, nuclear defense systems and nuclear medicine applications.  With NIST, he coordinated the Van de Graaff and linear accelerator neutron data programs and a nuclear data measurement program. He has served as a staff member for Gulf General Atomic (1967-72) and the General Atomic Division of General Dynamics (1966-67), and a research assistant for the Department of Physics at the University of Wisconsin (1962-66) and the Argonne National Laboratory (1961-62). Carlson chaired projects for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Nuclear Energy Agency's Working Party on International Evaluation Cooperation. Carlson is a member of the American Physical Society, the United States Nuclear Data Program, and has authored more then 100 publications in a wide range of journals. Carlson received his Ph.D. (1966) from the Univeristy of Wisconsin, Madison. Now retired, Carlson works as a NIST contractor, with DOE support, evaluating nuclear data standards that are essential for new libraries such as the European Joint Evaluated Fission and Fusion Files. With this and his involvement in meetings of the European Community, Carlson's work directly impacts the nuclear data needs of the U.S., Europe and Japan.

Karan Armstrong-Friedrich '63

Karan trained under operatic experts Lotte Lehmann, Fritz Zweig and Tilly de Garmo. She gave her debut as Musetta in La bohème at the the San Francisco Opera in 1965, then won the 1966 Western Regional auditions of the Metropolitan Opera New York. Armstrong built her repertoire, primarily in Puccini, Verdi and Wagner lead roles, at the New York City Opera and with many U.S. companies in opera houses across the U.S. In 1974, Armstrong made her European debut as Micaela at the Oper'a du Rhin Strasbourg. By the early 80's she had sung at the Oper'a de Paris, Covent Garden, the Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Staatsoper Vienna. In 1986, she and her director husband Gotz Friedrich co-founded The American Berlin Opera Foundation Inc., which awards scholarships to American singers wishing to study at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Armstrong has sung in several operatic world premiers, including Gottfried von Einem's Jesu Hochzeit and Siegfried Matthus's Desdomona und ihre Schwestern. She was awarded the Kammersanger, the German honorific title for distinguishes operatic singers (Stutgart, 1985 and Berlin, 1994) and the Bundesverdienstkreuz (Federal Cross of Merit). Celebrated as a primadonna of modern music for her many lead roles in contemporary opera, Armstrong is also recognized as a champion of early 20th century opera. Armstrong gives masterclasses in Europe, Asia and the U.S. and most recently performed a modern version of Rigoletto at the Komische Oper Berlin.

Mary (Sorenson) Ranum '78

Mary is the chair of the board and shareholder at the Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., a Minneapolis headquartered law firm with approximately 275 lawyers. Ranum joined in 1984, following a judicial clerkship with the Minnesota Supreme Court. She became partner at her law firm in 1990 with years doing real estate transactional and debt finance work for major retailers, real estate developers, health care organizations, and lending and educational institutions. In addition to chairing the firm's real estate practice group for more than 10 years and focusing on pro bono work, diversity and associate development, Ranum became the first board chairwoman in 2010, making her one of a few female law firm leaders nationally. Due to Ranum's work, 34% of the partners at her firm are female, a percentage far above national averages. Ranum is also dedicated to hiring and retention of people of color in the Twin Cities legal community. She served on the board of directors of The Advocates for Human Rights, an internationally acclaimed organization that advocates for human rights around the world, and assists OneVillage Partners, a nonprofit that builds self-reliance skills for communities in Sierra Leone, West Africa. Still actively involved with Concordia as a member of its board of regents, Ranum recently co-chaired a task force that explored new ventures for the college. In recognition of her merit, Ranum was made a fellow of the American College of Mortgage Attorneys in 2007 and of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers in 2015. She was noted among the Top Women in Finance in Finance and Commerce (2011) and 25 Industry Leaders in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal (2011), and named the Metropolitan Economic Development Association's Volunteer of the Year in 1997.

Dr. Philip Noss '61

Dr. Philip Noss served more than 40 years in Bible translation with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cameroon (ELCC), the United Bible Societies, the Eugene A. Nida Institute for Biblical Scholarship of the American Bible Society. He earned a Ph.D. in African languages and literature from the University of Wisconsin, Madison (1969) and taught in that department, the first of its kind in the world. Noss founded the Gbaya Translation Center of the ELCC, serving as its translation exegete, and established undergraduate and postgraduate programs in African languages and literature at the University of Calabar, Nigeria. He then became a translation consultant with the United Bible Societies, with responsibilities for the Bible translation projects in 34 African nations in 200 languages. Of great significance, Noss led an inter confessional translation team whose work culminated in the publication of the Bible (1995), with the Apocrypha (2011), in the Gbaya language of Cameroon and the Central African Republic.

2016 Alumni Achievement Award Recipients

Dr. James B. Buhr '67

Dr. James B. Buhr has devoted his life to global influence as a family practice physician for more than 40 years. During his career, he has served hospitals in Chicago, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Africa, Liberia and Cameroon. In 2006, he led a group on behalf of Global Health Ministries to assess the need and feasibility of building a hospital in Central African Republic, a country facing extreme poverty and ongoing violence. He then participated in efforts to build the hospital in Gallo and returned to evaluate the services provided by it. In Valley City, he serves as county health officer/medical director, coroner, and is the primary physician for more than 100 individuals at the Open Door Center, which serves adults and children with developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities and mental health needs.

Jean E. Bye '79

Jean Bye has been focused throughout her career at Dotson Iron Castings on building a company that outperforms the competition while creating a culture that values and inspires employees. Today, she is president and CEO of the iron foundry in Mankato, Minn. Among her successes are managing the stress of recession, meeting high demand pressures from U.S. industry giants and launching an Employee Stock Ownership Plan plan for the company. She willingly shares her expertise and experience. In 2014, she initiated a special interest group within the American Foundry Society that mentors and coaches women in the industry. She is the first woman to serve on the society’s executive committee and will be the president of the association in 2018. Additionally, she has been invited to participate in the invitation-only International Foundry Forum twice.

Dr. Karen A. Feste '66

Dr. Karen Feste has contributed greatly to the international relations fields of conflict resolution, terrorism and military intervention. She is professor at the Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. There she founded and is director of the interdisciplinary Conflict Resolution Institute and is director of its International Security master’s program. She has published numerous articles and books, and has been asked to speak within and outside the U.S. Many of her former students have achieved distinction, including former Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice and former Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey. She was twice a Fulbright Scholar to Vienna, Austria. She serves on the board for the Oslo Center for Peace and Human Rights and is active in Forward Global Women, which strives to bring peace to troubled areas of the world.

David J. Horazdovsky '78

David Horazdovsky, president and CEO of the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, has key passions for innovative care and consumer-focused service. As leader of the nation’s largest nonprofit provider of long-term care, housing and senior services, he emphasizes well-being and improved environments. He joined the society in 1978 and served as an administrator at three locations until 1989, when he became regional director for Minnesota. He was tapped to lead the organization in 2003. In addition to his work with the society, he serves as a board member of a healthcare technology company and a national affordable housing trust company. He represented South Dakota at the 2005 White House Conference on Aging and was a member of an advisory board for the U.S. Department of Labor. He continues to be involved in public policy and advocacy for seniors.

2015 Alumni Achievement Award Recipients

Paul D. Erickson '74

Paul Erickson, Circle Pines, Minn., is a sports administrator whose passions have benefitted cities across Minnesota. After Concordia, he taught in Australia. He then served as Concordia’s director of student activities from 1976-82. While at Concordia, he led two Arctic ski expeditions – one in Greenland and another in Lappland with two blind skiers. He was vice president of public relations for the Sons of Norway from 1982-86. In 1986, the governor appointed him executive director of the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission, a position he held for 27 years until he retired. During his tenure, he established the largest youth sporting event in the U.S. and led the development of $300 million of sports facilities in Minnesota, including the nation’s largest amateur sports facility in the nation.

Dr. Alan R. Hopeman '42

Dr. Alan Hopeman, Minneapolis, Minn., served in the U.S. Army as an enlisted medic and Medical Service Corps officer during World War II. Completing medical school in 1950, he returned to the army as a medical officer and served until 1970. His leadership was widely recognized in the field of cardio thoracic surgery. His second career was in academic surgery as professor of surgery at the universities of Missouri, Nebraska and Colorado. At each of these medical schools, he received the Golden Apple Award for teaching from the students. In 1985, he was awarded professor emeritus of surgery from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center based at Denver General Hospital. He provided extraordinary public relations to the hospital community and gave freely of his time to his patients, medical students and residents.

Dr. Craig J. Lambrecht '83

Dr. Craig Lambrecht, Bismarck, N.D., is responsible for operations for Sanford Health west region, which includes several facilities in western North Dakota. He became president/CEO of Medcenter One, Bismarck, in 2010 and guided the health system’s merger with Sanford Health. He is board certified in emergency medicine. He was a 30-year member of the North Dakota National Guard and served two wartime deployments to Iraq. During his second deployment, Lambrecht built up a struggling pediatric burn clinic, the only one in Iraq, by gathering thousands of dollars of donated supplies and cash donations. He retired from the National Guard as a colonel. He earned degrees in international relations and biology from Concordia and a medical degree from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences. He holds three master’s degrees: health services administration, public health/occupational medicine and business administration.

Dr. Howard O. Nornes '53

Dr. Howard Nornes, Fort Collins, Colo., graduated with a degree in biology. He obtained a doctorate in neuroscience from Purdue University and did postdoctoral research at the University of Lund, Sweden, and the Max Planck Institute, Göttingen, Germany. He is professor emeritus of neuroscience at Colorado State University and continues to teach courses in neuroplasticity of the adult brain in their continuing education program. His major research interest was the development and regeneration of the nervous system, work that promotes healing and recovery of the function of the spinal cord and brain. Through the years he has been involved in community programs to promote peace and social justice. 

2014 Alumni Achievement Award Recipients

John Ahlquist '63

John Ahlquist, Walnut Creek, Calif., has been a certified health physicist for 41 years and a leader in applied and environmental health physics, environmental restoration, decontamination and decommissioning of nuclear facilities and sites, emergency response, and management. He began his career at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1965 where he was involved in the testing of nuclear rocket reactors for deep space exploration.  He was a nuclear safeguards inspector in Vienna, Austria, for the International Atomic Energy Agency, and was a director for environmental restoration and for environment, safety and health with the Department of Energy. He concluded his career in management oversight of three national laboratories operated by the University of California. He continues to work toward improvements in restoration of nuclear sites.

Sandra Cartie '82

Sandra Cartie, Princeton, N.J., is senior vice president and chief audit executive of Bristol-Myers Squibb. Cartie has been named by Treasury & Risk magazine as an outstanding women leader in finance and is widely acknowledged for “being a change agent, successfully building focused teams, creating leaders, implementing rapid transitions and adding value to improve operations.” Cartie is a leader in the company’s diversity and inclusion efforts, and finds gratification in nurturing, motivating and developing others, while creating a culture of inclusion to maximize each team member’s potential. Cartie created a strategy that engages Bristol-Myers Squibb employees around the world in sustainability efforts by founding the company’s “Go Green” initiative to preserve the environment, which contributed to the company’s No. 1 ranking on Corporate Responsibility Magazine’s “Best Corporate Citizens” listing in 2012 to 2014.

Dr. Roger Leopold '62

Dr. Roger Leopold, Fargo, N.D., has been a research entomologist in the USDA Agricultural Research Service for more than 44 years and is recognized internationally as a leading authority in the areas of insect reproduction and cryopreservation. His research, vision and leadership has provided the foundation for the current appreciation that insect cryopreservation and dormancy technology is an area of critical importance to providing safe and stable insect control systems that aid global food production. Leopold is widely considered to be among the top one percent of his scientific peers. He has written over 150 publications, including journal articles, book chapters, scientific proceedings, technical reports and abstracts. Further, he was the recipient of the Sir Frederick McMaster Fellowship for Distinguished Foreign Scientists.

Vernon Tolo, M.D. '64

Vernon Tolo, M.D., Pasadena, Calif., is chief emeritus of the Children’s Orthopaedic Center at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles, where he was orthopaedic chief for 22 years, following 11 years as chief of pediatric orthopaedics at Johns Hopkins. He is the John C. Wilson, Jr., Professor of Orthopaedics at the Keck School of Medicine at University of Southern California. His primary clinical interests are spinal deformity, skeletal dysplasia, cerebral palsy, and pediatric trauma. He has mentored and been the role model for many younger orthopaedic surgeons.  He has been president of the Scoliosis Research Society, the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America, and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. He is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. 

2013 Alumni Achievement Award Recipients

Murrae N. Freng '46

Murrae Freng, Plymouth, Minn., has enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a band and choral conductor in Brooten, Minn., and Alexandria, Minn., high schools. He served as executive director of the Minnesota State High School League for 15 years where he guided the activities of high school athletics, music, speech, and drama. He was a leader in instituting gender equity and the evolution of high school women's athletics in Minnesota. He is a charter member of the halls of fame of the Minnesota Music Educators Association and the Minnesota State High School League, and is the recipient of the F. Melius Christiansen Memorial Award. Freng inspired countless students to pursue excellence, and he is widely respected for working for the betterment of others. Watch Video

George C. Halvorson Jr. '68

George Halvorson, Sausalito, Calif., is chairman and chief executive office of Kaiser Permanente, the nation's largest nonprofit health plan and hospital system serving more than 9 million members and generating $50 billion in annual revenue. He has chaired the World Economic Forum's Health Governors meetings in Davos, Switzerland, and is the recipient of the Louis Sullivan Award for outstanding leadership in healthcare quality and the American Hospital Association's 2013 Award of Honor. He is the author of several guidebooks on healthcare reform, and he has served as an advisor to foreign governments on issues of health policy and financing. Halvorson previously held management positions with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, and HealthPartners in Minneapolis. Watch Video

Morris L. Lanning '66

Morrie Lanning served Concordia College for nearly 40 years as the primary advocate for students. He pioneered the development of a student leadership program that flourishes today. He made sure that students are "at the table" for discussions on curriculum changes, long-range planning and budget development. He also has lived a life of public service, including serving as major of Moorhead, as a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, and on numerous boards and commissions for the state and region. He is known as a consummate practitioner of the deliberative process with a sure grasp of the issues at hand. Most recently, he sponsored legislation that enabled state participation in building a new multi-use Vikings stadium. Watch Video

Karen (Lattu) Polzin '77

Karen Polzin enjoyed a successful 33-year career at Cargill where she held many high-level leadership roles within the controller's organization. During her tenure, she was the controller of their global grain and oilseed businesses and a lead controller over many North American businesses. At the end of her career Polzin helped lead a team focused on improving global business processes and simplifying software application at Cargill. She is a longstanding volunteer leader at the Plymouth Christian Youth Center in Minneapolis where she is revered for her considerable skills in nonprofit governance, finance and strategic management. She has also served in a variety of capacities on behalf of the college as a member of the advisory board for the Offutt School of Business. Watch Video

2012 AAA Recipients

Dr. Thomas Berquist '67

Dr. Thomas Berquist, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., has served in the highest leadership and teaching positions at the Mayo Clinics, and is one of the founding doctors who pioneered the Mayo Clinic Jacksonville site, where he established the first residency program in radiology and chaired the radiology department. Berquist has distinguished himself as an internationally and nationally recognized diagnostic radiologist with specialty expertise in musculoskeletal imaging. He is the author of hundreds of peer-reviewed articles in medical journals and has written several radiology textbooks. He is credited with providing the vision and direction for all educational activity at Mayo, where he is revered as a model educational leader.

Ronald Gadberry '58

In his 45-year teaching and coaching career, Ronald Gadberry, Fargo, N.D., influenced young lives as a model of integrity and good character. He built perennial powerhouse wrestling programs at Moorhead and Hillsboro high schools, and has the rare distinction of being chosen to coaching halls of fame in two states – Minnesota and North Dakota. A man of faith, Gadberry is well respected and well known for building deep and life-changing mentoring relationships with hundreds of students who credit him for being a lasting influence in their lives.

Dr. Patricia Kubow '89

Dr. Patricia Kubow, Bowling Green, Ohio, has built an international reputation as a leading voice in collegiate education. The themes of citizenship and democratic education has been at the heart of her work. Kubow is an education professor at Bowling Green State University, where she has built close contacts and associates in all corners of the globe, and her national and international networks continue to grow. She is the recipient of the Outstanding Citizen Achievement Award by the United States Agency for International Development. She is a member of the 1988 Concordia women’s basketball national championship team, a two-time academic All-American and a member of the Concordia Athletic Hall of Fame.

Allan Stokke '62

Allan Stokke, Newport Beach, Calif., is generally regarded as one of the finest criminal defense attorneys in southern California and one of only a handful to be included in the “Best Lawyers in America” listing. Stokke has co-authored legal textbooks and is a frequent speaker on legal and ethical issues. During his 47-year legal career he has earned a solid reputation for high integrity, strong work ethic and as a dedicated community volunteer. Ever true to his rural upbringing, he returns to his family’s Red River Valley grain farm each summer to help with harvest. 

2011 AAA Recipients

Maj. Gen. Michael Ennis ‘71

Maj. Gen. Michael Ennis, Oakton, Va., graduated from Concordia with a burning desire to utilize the language skills he learned in French and Russian. Then Uncle Sam stepped in and Ennis was drafted into the U.S. Marine Corps. Over the next 37 years, he served as a translator on the Washington- Moscow “hotline” for President Reagan; as a liaison to the Soviet Forces in Potsdam, East Germany; as an inspector on the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty; as an attache in Moscow; and finally as the deputy director of operations at the Central Intelligence Agency.

Clint Hill ‘54

Clint Hill, Arlington, Va., was a Secret Service agent assigned to the White House and served Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon and Ford. He was in the motorcade in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, assigned to protect Mrs. Kennedy when President Kennedy was assassinated. He is credited with saving her life. After leaving Concordia, Hill entered the U.S. Army and served as an intelligence agent. He was discharged in 1957 and entered the Secret Service. Hill’s career and actions have been recognized worldwide. He retired in 1975 as an assistant director. He and coauthor Lisa McCubbin are writing a book titled “Mrs. Kennedy and Me,” which will be published in spring 2012 by Simon & Schuster.

Estelle (Johnson) Spottiswoode ’46

Estelle (Johnson) Spottiswoode, London, has dedicated her life to music and the arts. After Concordia, she attended Julliard Summer School where she studied with opera star Maggie Teyte. Teyte recommended that Spottiswood study the Jean de Reske method of singing with Grace Vernon. When Vernon returned to the U.K, Spottiswood followed her. She has given numerous recitals and sung in operas, including the second televised opera broadcast in the U.K. At age 70, she focused on drawing and painting in her studio and gave her first one-woman show two years later. She celebrated her 85th birthday with a recital of Grieg, Debussy and Hahn.

Dr. James Westgard ‘63

Dr. James Westgard, Madison, Wis., is co-founder and principal in Westgard QC Inc., a small business providing tools, technology and training for laboratory quality management. He is also an emeritus professor in the department of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of Wisconsin Medical School. His life work has been improving the accuracy and precision of clinical laboratory work used to make what can be life and death decisions.

2010 AAA Recipients

Virgil Syverson '41

Virgil Syverson is widely known as "Mr. Music" in western North Dakota. In nearly six decades of teaching, he has been a positive influence for thousands of students and an inspiring role model for countless music educators. Syverson has been recognized nationally for his contributions to the music world, receiving the Legion of Honor medal from the John Philip Sousa Foundation and the lifetime achievement award from the Phi Beta Mu music fraternity. He was band director at Williston Public Schools for 39 years, the founder and director of the Williston Cowboys Drum and Bugle Corps for 54 years, and 42 years conducting the Williston City Band. 

David M. Anderson '67

Following a distinguished career in the Air Force, Anderson is a Boeing 767 First Officer flying international routes for United Airlines. He is the founder of the Second Sight for Sore Eyes charity, leading efforts to gather used eyeglasses for free distribution in Thailand. His efforts have resulted in the delivery of tens of thousands of eyeglasses to needy adults and school children. A 23-year Air Force veteran, Anderson served two tours of duty in Vietnam as a C-130 reconnaissance and special operations navigator. He is the recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross, two Air Medals, the USAF Commendation medal and two Meritorious Service medals. 

Carol Ann Olson '74, M.D., Ph.D.

Carol Ann Olson is senior vice president for Pharmaceutical Development and chief medical officer at Immtech Pharmaceuticals. As one of few women in top management positions in the medical and scientific field, she is following a mission framed through a life of scientific and medical inquiry, teaching, mentoring and service to others. Olson's focus is on the development of new oral medicines to treat neglected diseases, including malaria and African sleeping sickness, which are fatal parasitic diseases exclusively affecting rural populations in Africa. She organizes clinical trials for drug testing in central Africa, Asia and South America. 

Kelby Krabbenhoft '80

Kelby Krabbenhoft is president and CEO of Sanford Health-MeritCare, a $2.1 billion organization that is the nation's largest nonprofit, integrated rural health care system. His vision sets direction for 18,000 employees, 27 hospitals, 174 clinics, 33 long-term care facilities and 65,000 health plan members in 120 communities across the upper Midwest. The system features physician-hospital service integration and includes centers of excellence in health care delivery and innovative research, education and health plan programs. Krabbenhoft established the vision for T. Denny Sanford's $400 million gift, the largest gift ever given to a health care organization in America. The gift supports the implementation of the Sanford Initiatives, which includes global children's clinics, research centers and finding a cure for Type 1 diabetes. He previously served as president and CEO of Sanford Health, Sioux Falls, S.D., and in leadership roles at several other health organizations. He received the Modern Healthcare Up and Comers Award in 1994.